Apple is widely rumored to be working on two different types of smart glasses. The first will be a mixed reality headset that delivers augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) content, with a launch expected in mid-2023. The more exciting device is the Apple AR glasses coming in 2024 at the soonest. The AR glasses will not offer content as rich as the first Apple AR/VR headset, as it’s meant to complement the iPhone.
Rumors aside, Apple has not yet announced any new AR or VR product, be it a mixed reality headset or an AR-only gadget. But Tim Cook just teased that these products are coming in a recent interview.
”Stay tuned, and you’ll see what we have to offer.”
Tim Cook spoke to China Daily about AR products, reiterating his excitement about this product category.
“I am incredibly excited about AR, as you might know, and the critical thing to any technology including AR is putting humanity at the center of it,” the Apple CEO said, in what feels like a familiar stance on AR devices. “And that is what we focus on every day. Right now, as an example, we have over 14,000 ARKit apps in the App Store, which provide AR experiences for millions of people around the world.”
What’s interesting about this particular comment is that Apple was silent about new AR features earlier this month during WWDC 2022. That’s where Apple could have unveiled realityOS, the operating system that will reportedly power the mixed reality headset and the AR glasses. However, some of the software innovations unveiled at WWDC would work well on AR/VR headsets.
That makes Cook’s comment more interesting, as it contrasts with the WWDC silence. And the executive went beyond just delivering an update on his excitement about AR:
“I think despite that, we’re still in the very early innings of how this technology will evolve,” Cook said. “I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’ve seen in this space, and sort of stay tuned, and you’ll see what we have to offer.”
When will the first Apple AR/VR headset launch?
Insiders familiar with Apple’s supply chain have provided plenty of details about the AR/VR headset in recent years.
The device is expected to look like current VR gaming headsets, but it’ll cost more than a MacBook. That’s because it’ll feature high-end specs, including an Apple M-series processor. As a result, the AR/VR headset will not need a wired connection to a computer or smartphone.
The AR/VR headset will also reportedly have more than a dozen cameras. They will be pointed both outward and inward at the user’s eyes. The Apple device will track eye movement, according to reports. Furthermore, 4K micro-OLED displays will project content into the retinas.
All of that will be packaged inside a commercial product that might look like the AR/VR headset in the concept images above.
According to an insider, Apple should unveil the first-gen AR/VR headset and realityOS in early 2023. The product might hit stores in the second quarter, sometime near WWDC 2023.
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